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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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developed the unceasing diplomatic and propaganda attack directed against
Poland during this war.
The Polish citizens were the first item which appeared in the Soviet's
plan to reannex the Eastern half of Poland. The Russian authorities
stated that on the grounds of the c elections ' which had been held in that
area, these people were now Soviet citizens. As time went on the Soviet
attitude towards this question underwent several changes. After the
signing of the Polish-Soviet Agreement of July 30,1941, and the issue of
the e amnesty * Decree of August 12, in fact, throughout the ensuing
months, the Soviets had recognised the status of all the Polish citizens
then in Russia. At any rate, there had been no discrimination in
nationality, creed or race when the Soviet authorities first began to release
the Polish citizens from their various places of exile or imprisonment.
The first indication of the Soviet's intention came on December i, 1941,
when the Narkomindel handed a Note to the Polish Ambassador at
Kuibyshev informing him that by the Decree of November 29, 1939
(based on the Soviet-German Treaty of * amity and delineation * of
September 28,1939), all those Poles domiciled in Eastern Poland annexed
to the U.S.S.R. had acquired Soviet citizenship, but the Soviet Govern-
ment would exclude from this Decree those former citizens of the Republic
of Poland who, in its opinion, were of Polish nationality.
The Note continued :
" The readiness of the Soviet Government to recognise as Polish citizens
those persons of Polish nationality who, on November 1-2, 1939, were
living on the above specified territory (i.e., Soviet-occupied Eastern Poland),
only proves the good-will and lenience of the Soviet Government, but cannot
serve in any case as a basis for an analogous recognition as Polish, citizens
or persons of other nationalities, particularly those of Ukrainian, White
Ruthenian and Jewish nationality, as the problem of boundaries between
the U.S.S.R. and Poland is not settled yet and will be taken up in the future/*
Thus, by this Note only the people of Polish blood could be conscripted
to, or could voluntarily join the Polish Army, since the rest were now
* Soviet citizens.' Nothing was carried out in a straightforward manner,
as was typical of Russia. Already in the October, the Governor of the
military district of Kazakstan had decided one his own account' that only
Poles could be conscripted to the Polish Army, and had issued the order
that c* all Jews, Ukrainians and White Ruthenians must join the Red
Army." The Polish Ambassador sent a protest to the Narkomindel and
received in answer the Note of December i, which confirmed the position
as it stood. On December 9, the Polish Embassy protested once again.
The attitude of Poland was dear throughout on this matter and had not
undergone any modification. All persons who had been Polish citizens
in September, 1939, retained this status wherever they were and regardless
of their race, nationality, origin or creed. It was immaterial to Poland
whether the individual was Pole or Ruthenian, White Ruthenian or Jew,
or of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Eastern Orthodox faith, but